The pinion carrier assembly was a bit of a game; it was a case of getting what I thought was the right amount of end float and working out how not to lose it in doing up the various threaded rings and nuts. Although the mechanics of the unit are clear, the assembly and set-up sequence is not. Anyway I managed to get it how I wanted it – just enough play to let the oil get round the rollers – after a couple of hours fiddling.
Then I thought I’d do something a bit more interesting. I’d decided a couple of weeks ago that the decoration of the grille would have to be understated and I remembered that the previous owner of the Hillman had said that what initially inspired him to take on the wreck was the image of the ‘H’ on the radiator that Hillman put on their cars in the Very Olden Days. It seemed like a nice thing to try and I looked for an image to give me some idea of scale. I couldn’t find anything clear enough (or stylish enough) so, using the ‘H’ that’s embossed on the pedals as a start, I drew up my own version which is just a little bit looser and slightly cheekier than the original.
An hour cutting and filing – it would have been a lot quicker if Abrafiles were still available – and then a few holes to attach the ‘H’ with locking wire and it was time to move on to the next problem.
Having put the electric fan in place, I needed a switch to operate it and this would normally go in either the top of the radiator or somewhere along the inlet pipe. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to have the inlet pipe re-made because there’s not enough room to fit a rubber elbow and then introduce a separate tube and switch housing to join up with another section of hose, to the thermostat housing. In fact, it sounds as messy as it would probably look so what I’m proposing is a 110 degree bend welded into the top flange and then sufficient length of pipe to accommodate the switch housing with just the one joining piece of rubber hose to attach to the thermostat housing. The top pipe also needs to be canted to the off-side by about 15 degrees to get as straight a run as possible. I know the boys at Pro Alloy Motorsports will do this in their sleep so I won’t have to think about it again.
But, what will have to be thought about is The Great Collector’s Darracq rear axle. After a jolly weekend’s sport and just as the finish line appeared, so too did a strange noise from underneath the back seat, followed quickly by a complete seizure of the diff. Back at the ranch and with the axle dismantled, it was evident that the four nuts and bolts that hold the 2 halves of the planet gear casing together, had come adrift; the casing had separated within the outer diff casing and the gears had proceeded to munch on the nuts and a couple of the bolts. The set-up is such that the planet gears are positioned on the back of the crown wheel and luckily, the business side of the crown wheel and the pinion were protected from damage.
The half shaft gears are a bit the worse for their experience.
Still, The Great Collector has two Darracqs so although one’s down, there’s another one that goes.